Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Perfect Holiday Gift

Preserving Biodiversity Knowledge and Strengthening Conservation Efforts

The Extinct Carolina Parakeet. Captured by Mark Catesby.
In 1918, the last known surviving Carolina Parakeet, the only parrot species native to the eastern United States, died. While museum specimens may help us retain some information about this species, for many others, everything we know is contained in a single description found within a hard to find book or article. While there is nothing we can do to bring these extinct species back, we can preserve our knowledge of them to help avoid future extinctions.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), in its global efforts to digitize biodiversity literature and make it freely available to the world, ensures that the knowledge needed to identify species, facilitate further scientific research, and support conservation efforts is available to everyone, everywhere. Thanks in part to donations from users like you, BHL currently provides access to nearly 40 million pages and over 50,000 images.

Celebrating the BHL-Africa via Travel Posters!
In 2012, BHL significantly advanced the breadth and depth of its collections and the opportunities to engage with its digitized resources. BHL added over 12,000 items and over 3.7 million pages to its collections this year, supported in part by the addition of two new members to the BHL consortium: the United States Geological Survey and Cornell University. Furthermore, BHL continued to serve new and widespread audiences by establishing a greater presence across social media channels, resulting in over 30,000 new images in Flickr this year; biodiversity facts, history, and trivia communicated via Tweets, Blog and Facebook posts; and downloads through iTunes U, all free to the public. BHL continues to expand globally, as evidenced by the June, 2012, BHL meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, designed to support the development of a BHL-Africa.

The most rewarding measure of BHL's successes comes from the frequent testimonials received from users:

"The BHL website is an extremely valuable resource and is crucial to my research."

"Being in a small town in Africa made accessing literature especially difficult, but I no longer feel so disadvantaged with the advent of BHL."

"BHL makes my research so much easier! I absolutely love it. A million times thank you!"
The BHL's substantial growth and activity has been supported by our dedicated patrons whose gifts we depend on to fund the digitization of additional texts, technical development for the program, and improvement of data curation. This holiday season, as you continue to seek the perfect gift for your loved ones, consider giving a gift to the planet by supporting scientific research and conservation efforts across the globe through a tax-deductible donation to the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

As a gift from our BHL family to yours, enjoy these BHL Holiday Greeting Cards and Travel Posters! Download them for free from the BHL Pinterest. Happy Holidays!


  1. I would be more than willing to purchase these intricately designed postcards especially after knowing that it part of the money will go to environmental programs. I'm always a fan of this kind of craftsmanship.

  2. Biodiversity Heritage LibraryMarch 7, 2013 at 6:54 AM

    Dear Brenda,

    Thank you so much for your comment expressing your willingness to purchase cards featuring BHL images, particularly when the proceeds will go to such as worthy cause! At this time, we are not selling these products ourselves. However, all of the cards you see in this post can be freely downloaded from our Pinterest account ( and over 65,000 images can be freely downloaded from our Flickr account ( We suggest you use a site like to create custom cards using our images. If you do so, perhaps you would also consider making a small donation to BHL ( You contributions will directly fund digitization for further items to be added to BHL and support technical developments to allow us to improve our website.

    Setting up a model to actually sell products featuring our images is something we are looking into, and should we implement such a strategy, we will definitely promote it on our blog.

    Thanks again for your kind words for BHL, and we hope you find great images and have a wonderful time creating custom products of your own!


    The BHL Team